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07-19-2010, 05:44 AM   #1
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1st Wedding. What I learned about my equipment.

I can see that weddings are a good way to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of ones equipment, and I learned some things about mine. Hereís what I used:

K20D: Two problems to report. The first was an accident that caused the right side of my hot shoe to break away from the camera body. This created an unsteady lean to the left with the flash gun attached. Since my flash has wireless capability, I hand held it. Iím glad for the K20Dís ability to shoot flash wirelessly. Iíve had three Canon users express envy over that.

The second problem is, surprise: Slow AF in dim light during the reception with dancing. This was very frustrating. Even the flash illuminator beam could not get me the shots I wanted. I finally found the only solution that worked. (If someone knows another, I would be pleased to hear it.) I set the camera on continuous focus, and let the camera select the focus points. Granted, you donít get to select your own focus point, but at least you are not stuck with either shots of peopleís backs, or even nothing at all. It actually focuses very swiftly with this set up (and the right lens). My partner offered me the use of his pen light, which he was using for his Canon, but it was unnecessary. I am, however, starting to wonder how this camera would perform in a low light church service (this was an outside wedding).

K100D: I used this for the wide angle shots, some non flash, low light higher ISO shots, and as a back up. No problems here.

DA 21mm: Iím not in love with this lens, but I love having it Ė mainly for its size. Everyone knows that you will get soft corners if you shoot below f/5.6. Still it does a good enough job generally.

DA 40mm: This lens turned out to be disappointing when using it in the low light situation I described above. I had noticed this characteristic before, but since I had to have it repaired under warranty, I had hoped that was the reason. Apparently not. While I do have affection for this lens, it will stay in the bag when the lights get low.

FA 50 f/1.4: Canít live without it. Focuses quickly. Takes nice pictures. The contrast is not as intense as the DA Limiteds, but I actually like it for that. The pictures seem a bit more ephemeral.

DA 70mm: This is becoming my work horse lens. I mostly used it for the reception, and it worked flawlessly once I found the right camera set up.

DFA 100mm: Old reliable. Because it is a macro, f/2.8, and has manual override, this is my most reliable lens for getting the shot. I love the color rendition and the contrast as well. This lens has started me thinking about the DA 35.

Metz 58AF-1 flash gun: A very nice flash that can be operated wirelessly. The only caveat is that the sensor is located on the left side of the flash. So if you hold the flash in your left hand, as one would expect, you only have a 20% chance that it will go off.

This is how I use it: I stand sideways to my subject and place the camera on my left shoulder (which is great for extra stability). Then I bring my left arm under my right wrist and hold it up as high as I can. This will get the flash higher than if it were attached to the camera. It is not as high as I might like, but it will certainly avoid red eye and move the shadows further down.

So thatís my report. Hope it may be of interest to someone.

Michael

07-19-2010, 06:23 AM   #2
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interesting, thanks for sharing.

I cannot visualise very well how one can put the camera on the left shoulder, how could you look through the VF in that position? Which hand are you holding the flash and which hand are you holding the camera?

One more thing, did you get the chance of shooting using the Metz AF assist light? if yes, how does it compare with the AF using the K20 assist light?
07-19-2010, 06:38 AM   #3
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Interesting how your favorites are 50 and above.

Was their assigned table seating, and of so, did you do table shots?
07-19-2010, 08:40 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kytra Quote
interesting, thanks for sharing.

I cannot visualise very well how one can put the camera on the left shoulder, how could you look through the VF in that position? Which hand are you holding the flash and which hand are you holding the camera?

One more thing, did you get the chance of shooting using the Metz AF assist light? if yes, how does it compare with the AF using the K20 assist light?
Essentially, you would be taking the same stance as if you were shooting a rifle. The camera would be in your right hand, and you would rest it on your left shoulder. It actually works quite well. Try it. I do use my left eye for looking through the view finder. That might make some difference.

The flash is held in the left hand, and you simply raise your left arm as high as you can. This will put your left arm in a perpendicular position to your right wrist.

I did not use the Metz specifically for an assist light. That is a good question and I must try it out. I was mainly taking flash pictures. I did notice that the Metz sent out a red assist beam. But before I changed my camera settings, I was still not getting fast AF.

07-19-2010, 08:48 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Interesting how your favorites are 50 and above.

Was their assigned table seating, and of so, did you do table shots?
You are clever in noticing that. It is true, I am not much of a wide angle shooter. I have found that the DA 40mm is good for most of my "wide angle" needs. But in this case, the slow focusing prevented its use.

It was a small, very relaxed wedding and only the wedding party had assigned seating at the table in front. I chose to shoot smaller segments of the table rather than fit it all in. The photographer I was working for said my shots of the guests should not have more than three people in them. This is an approach that I usually use, but I really should spend more time learning how to make wide angle shots really shine.
07-19-2010, 09:28 AM   #6
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im like you with lens preferences, i like the glass to get close... but i just got a da15 and its totally different required shooting style to get good results.

da70 is also my work horse
07-19-2010, 10:36 AM   #7
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SkyofTexas, I am curious on your setup of DA70. I have it too and use it a lot. What do you do that makes it shine?
07-19-2010, 11:34 AM   #8
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With wireless flash, you lose SR. This would only be important if you are trying to balance ambient, but considering you are using the flash in your hand, why not invest in a $40 P-TTL cable? This would get you the AF assist back from the flash, assuming you were willing to leave AF-C. If you set the AF button to cancel AF, you can force the shutter to fire whenever you want in AF-S by hitting it. If you are using wider lenses, the DOF will probably be large enough to get acceptable photos.

Since the Metz 58 has both swivel and tilt, why did you not simply rotate the head to get the wireless sensor on the right?

Your experience with the 40mm seems out of the norm with what is usually posted about the lens. I hate to say it, but that makes me think there is something wrong with it.

Thank you
Russell

07-19-2010, 12:14 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Interesting how your favorites are 50 and above.

Was their assigned table seating, and of so, did you do table shots?
I am also curious why the OP uses less wide angle which I consider rather important especially in the environment where there is not enough room.

When I use the combination of DA* 16-50mm and 50-135mm, the 50-135mm only get used around 10% of the time. I also use my 31mm ltd in place of the FA50 1.4 when I need it.
07-19-2010, 12:40 PM   #10
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I'm surprised that the OP was shooting a wedding in a professional-like capacity with the flash on camera, rather than a bracket. However, with wireless, does the AF assist work? I haven't used the Metz, but I've found that, connected to a cable, the AF540FGZ assist lamp is quite useful with the K20D.
07-19-2010, 01:32 PM   #11
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QuoteQuote:
DA 40mm: This lens turned out to be disappointing when using it in the low light situation I described above. I had noticed this characteristic before, but since I had to have it repaired under warranty, I had hoped that was the reason. Apparently not. While I do have affection for this lens, it will stay in the bag when the lights get low.

FA 50 f/1.4: Can’t live without it. Focuses quickly. Takes nice pictures. The contrast is not as intense as the DA Limiteds, but I actually like it for that. The pictures seem a bit more ephemeral.
I find it interesting that you you were disappointed that the 40mm f 2.8 didn't focus as well in low light as the 50mm f 1.4. It seems to me that would be expected.
07-19-2010, 01:34 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by SergioFromSF Quote
SkyofTexas, I am curious on your setup of DA70. I have it too and use it a lot. What do you do that makes it shine?
I point it at something and press the shutter. That seems to be all that is required. It takes good pictures at most every aperture.
07-19-2010, 01:42 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Russell-Evans Quote
With wireless flash, you lose SR. This would only be important if you are trying to balance ambient, but considering you are using the flash in your hand, why not invest in a $40 P-TTL cable? This would get you the AF assist back from the flash, assuming you were willing to leave AF-C. If you set the AF button to cancel AF, you can force the shutter to fire whenever you want in AF-S by hitting it. If you are using wider lenses, the DOF will probably be large enough to get acceptable photos.

Since the Metz 58 has both swivel and tilt, why did you not simply rotate the head to get the wireless sensor on the right?

Your experience with the 40mm seems out of the norm with what is usually posted about the lens. I hate to say it, but that makes me think there is something wrong with it.

Thank you
Russell
I did not realize the loss of SR with wireless flash. That explains why some past photos have been less sharp than I would like when using the flash and lower shutter speed for ambient light (which I almost always try to obtain).

Re: Metz sensor: it is attached to the main body of the flash. Swiveling the head will expose it better, and does help some if you angle the flash in a creative way. Some one on another forum suggested I hold it upside down. Great idea. Why didn't I think of it?

I'm actually hoping that my copy of the 40mm is flawed. That would induce me to someday replace it with a better copy.
07-19-2010, 01:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
I am also curious why the OP uses less wide angle which I consider rather important especially in the environment where there is not enough room.

When I use the combination of DA* 16-50mm and 50-135mm, the 50-135mm only get used around 10% of the time. I also use my 31mm ltd in place of the FA50 1.4 when I need it.
I have noticed that photographers seem to be either wide angle or telephoto shooters. I'm in the latter camp, preferring to go for details. Naturally, I would have used the 21mm more if I felt I needed it. But we had plenty of room, so I wasn't cramped. The only way I really like to use wide angle is to get up close for a special effect. But getting up close while people are trying to party feels a bit intrusive to me.
07-19-2010, 01:55 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
I'm surprised that the OP was shooting a wedding in a professional-like capacity with the flash on camera, rather than a bracket. However, with wireless, does the AF assist work? I haven't used the Metz, but I've found that, connected to a cable, the AF540FGZ assist lamp is quite useful with the K20D.
First wedding. Still getting there as far as equipment goes. (I was working it as an assistant/2nd shooter.) I'm not sure that a bracket is necessary, but if it is, I will get one eventually. I generally like to stay as compact as possible. Part of the reason I shoot with the Pentax primes.

Yes, the Metz AF assist does work wirelessly. But it still was not enough to get fast, reliable AF until I used the set up I mentioned above.
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